# Better display for git rebase conflicts

In the article Resolving git rebase conflicts I explain a procedure for resolving git rebase conflicts. It requires understanding the logical (semantic) intent of the rebased commit and applying it to the current state of the base branch.

There are two ways we can better understand the logical intent of the rebased commit. Firstly, we could try looking at the (diff3-style) conflict hunk. For example it might look as follows.

      foo1()
+    foo3()
++||||||| merged common ancestors
+     foo2()
++    foo3()
++=======
++    foo2()
++>>>>>>> Remove foo3

The intent of the rebased commit is to transform the middle hunk section into the bottom hunk section, in this case to remove foo3(). Secondly, we could look at the output of git show REBASE_HEAD. This gives us a “unified diff” that may be easier to read. It will look something like the following.

 def main():
foo1()
foo2()
-    foo3()

The downside is that we will see all of the rebased commit, not just the conflicting parts. Can we combine the best of both?

Rebase conflict markers would be more helpful displayed in a different form. We need to see exactly two things: the diff of the rebased commit at the conflict location and the context of the target branch. From the examples in the prior article, where we had

      foo1()
foo2()
foo3()
+    foo4()
++||||||| merged common ancestors
++=======
+    foo5()
++>>>>>>> Add foo 5

it would have been better shown as

      foo1()
foo2()
foo3()
foo4()
=======
+     foo5()
>>>>>>> Add foo 5

      foo1()
+    foo3()
++||||||| merged common ancestors
+     foo2()
++    foo3()
++=======
++    foo2()
++>>>>>>> Remove foo3

it would have been better shown as

    foo1()
foo3()
=======
foo2()
-   foo3()
>>>>>>> Remove foo3

  def main():
foo1()
foo2()
++||||||| merged common ancestors
++    foo3()
++=======
+     foo3()
+     foo4()
++>>>>>>> Add foo4

it would have been better shown as

def main():
foo1()
foo2()
=======
foo3()
+   foo4()
>>>>>>> Add foo4

  def main():
+    foo1_new_name()
+    foo2()
++||||||| merged common ancestors
+     foo1()
++    foo2()
++=======
++    foo1()
++>>>>>>> Remove foo2
foo3()

it would have been better shown as

def main():
foo1_new_name()
foo2()
=======
foo1()
-   foo2()
>>>>>>> Remove foo2
foo3()

  def main():
+    foo1and2()
++||||||| merged common ancestors
++    foo1()
++    foo2()
++=======
+     foo1_new_name()
+     foo2()
++>>>>>>> Rename foo1 to foo1_new_name
foo3()

it would have been better shown as

def main():
foo3()
Unfortunately we cannot patch this into git ourselves because the conflict style choices is hard-coded into git. Nonetheless, an editor plugin or even text-to-text processor could rewrite the diff3 style into the “context plus diff style” I propose. I have written a demo in Haskell.